"falling in love" with a friend?!

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steadybowl

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"falling in love" with a friend?!
« on: May 14, 2016, 11:37:31 PM »
Hello all -

So, I know it's "normal" to have "falling in love" feelings for your therapist.  After years of mediocre therapists I found a really great one 2 years ago.  And yep, sure enough I felt totally in love.  Head over heels.  I was "sure" that we should quit the therapy-client relationship and be lovers.  I am a lesbian, she is hetero and 20 years older, I have a long term partner and kids but surely it would work out, right?  Ahhh, no.

 Sigh......  She has been very caring and patient with me.  I was totally humiliated by the depth of my flight from reality but I am getting through it.

After that, with my T's support, I made a friend.  A good friend, first really good friend/confidante I've had in 15 years.  And....Boom!  Major feelings of "falling in love." I was pretty convinced it was not "real" just another kind of transference.  Got through it.  Came to senses.  Now I come to find that there is something worse under that false romantic glow.  It's a little kid type of attachment.  I want to run to her every time something hard happens, be listened to and validated. 

 Ultimately I want her to help me get through the day, to be available all the time.  And...that is NOT her responsibility!  I know that intellectually. Emotionally though I can't get there.  Roller coaster by the hour, vacillating between "she hates me this is over, I am flawed, no one will ever care for me" and "gosh I wouldn't want her to feel like I am ignoring her maybe I should send a reassuring text." Oh my.

My friend is no longer wiling to chat every day, and says that's because this is now maintenance of friendship and not new friendship.  She wants to have a "less intense" friendship.She is  still very compassionate and caring but I am having the toughest time with this.  I feel crazy and out of control on the inside.  On the outside I am managing to hyper down but wow is it hard. Urgh.

Have you been through this?  Would love to hear from someone who can relate. My therapist thinks I will get better at having friends.  I am torn between  fear and wanting support.   It would sure be nice to be able to spread my intensity out so as not to lean so hard on one person. But  I'm sure to go through this horrible roller coaster of "falling in love" and feeling like the most unlovable, shameful, flawed being ever.   

take care,
steadybowl

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arpy1

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2016, 01:15:47 PM »
steadybowl ur are so not alone in this!  been through it? lost count of the times; i always used to fall in love with my Elders in the cult - or really, any man who showed me kindness.  and loads of other times. ended up marrying one and that was a bad move. i have to believe that for people who have been so damaged as the likes of us, this is a completely normal response to kind people who offer us love, platonic, professional, or whatever other sort.

i have had people fall in love with me, female and male, for the same reason. and understood perfectly and tried my best to put boundaries in place that meant that they still felt safe and loved and unashamed with me without letting them take me over. 

i guess i try nowadays to stand with myself when i get these feelings and not to give in so much to the temptation to panic and run headlong into my fear or my shame or my humiliation. just because i feel these intense feelings doesn't mean i am bad or sick or stupid - but nor am i obliged to act out on them. i can just hold them in my hand, look and say 'oh s**t, there i go again' - and it somehow helps to ease the pain and the intensity.

i am very self-isolating at the moment and i don't know how to move on to the next step (whatever it is) from there, but at least it doesn't take my life over like it used to.

hope this will encourage you. don't be ashamed, that's all i would say. imho,  u r normal!  :hug: :hug: 

 

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mourningdove

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2016, 04:44:35 PM »
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It's a little kid type of attachment.  I want to run to her every time something hard happens, be listened to and validated.

Ultimately I want her to help me get through the day, to be available all the time.  And...that is NOT her responsibility!  I know that intellectually. Emotionally though I can't get there.  Roller coaster by the hour, vacillating between "she hates me this is over, I am flawed, no one will ever care for me" and "gosh I wouldn't want her to feel like I am ignoring her maybe I should send a reassuring text." 

Quote
I am torn between  fear and wanting support.   It would sure be nice to be able to spread my intensity out so as not to lean so hard on one person. But  I'm sure to go through this horrible roller coaster of "falling in love" and feeling like the most unlovable, shameful, flawed being ever. 


Oh my gosh - yes, I relate to this. All of it.  :'(

Like arpy1, I am very isolated now, and I'm frankly scared to make any new friends, because of this.^ I am scared that this will happen again. My T thinks I am making progress and will do better next time, and she might be right, but that overwhelming feeling of being unlovable and flawed that comes from this kind of "falling in love" is just so  scary.

I also appreciate the difference between *knowing* that it is not anyone else's responsibility to soothe me 24/7, and *feeling* the need for that so desperately. For me, it helps to recognize that these are child parts of me that feel this way, and it is perfectly natural that they do, because they did not get cared for when I was a kid. Babies *do* have the right to expect attention and care 24/7, so the feelings are not wrong; they are just frozen in time, and it's not appropriate to expect anyone to care for me as an adult the way a mother cares for a baby. I think this is where the concept of "re-parenting the inner child" comes in.  :blahblahblah: About a million times easier said than done, but I'm starting to believe it's possible.

I feel so much shame even thinking about this that part of me really wants to delete what I just wrote, but I will resist because I want you - steadybowl and arpy, and anyone else who reads this thread and feels similarly - to know that you are not alone.  :hug:



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arpy1

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2016, 07:57:08 PM »
 :thumbup: yeah to all of that, mourningdove. 

also, is it possible that these intense bouts of emotion are just a different kind of emotional flashback? to the abandoned bit of us? that's an interesting thought. maybe it would be poss to handle them like we do flashbacks, i.e with the 13 steps?  i might have to think on that further. 

Steadybowl, i don't know if you have had a chance to read the Pete Walker book so often mentioned on here? if not, it's worth a read, and re the above, has lots of tips to help with dealing with our difficult messed up emotions.

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steadybowl

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2016, 02:52:59 PM »
Dear arpy1 and mourningdove -

A million grateful thanks for your thoughtful replies. It is a little overwhelming for me to be on this board and read the pain here.  And yet I hear your wisdom and kindness shining through as well.  Thank you.

i guess i try nowadays to stand with myself when i get these feelings and not to give in so much to the temptation to panic and run headlong into my fear or my shame or my humiliation. just because i feel these intense feelings doesn't mean i am bad or sick or stupid - but nor am i obliged to act out on them. i can just hold them in my hand, look and say 'oh s**t, there i go again' - and it somehow helps to ease the pain and the intensity

arpy1 this is amazing - standing with yourself, just noting "oh s**t, there I go again".  I feel like I know you and I have stood in those same shoes.  I have not read the Pete Walker book yet but I am anxiously awaiting its arrival in the mail. 

mourningdove it was so generous of you to respond and leave that post up even though it brought shame feelings.  Thank you.  What you said about the child parts of ourselves and that little kids DO have the right to expect attention and care 24/7 - so true.

Many many thanks to you both - sending gentle positive energy to you both

- steadybowl

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Flutterbye

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2016, 06:27:26 PM »
totally relate, thanks to all on the thread for sharing, I felt so grounded reading it - yes, feeling like an abandoned baby for hours without end is so intense, very difficult to distract my attention onto anything else to relieve that urgent, desperate longing to be comforted & reassured.

the most recent new friend I fell in love with was a very young gay man, I'm heterosexual and 15+ years older. I felt so alive & like I couldn't be without him. Fortunately he was busy (with a normal life of healthy friendships his own age!!) so we weren't able to spend much 1:1 time together and the friendship didn't develop. That was heart-wrenching. I've been trying to build some healthy friendships (as I'm very isolated & have none currently) and each new person I meet it's different; some pleasant, some frightening, some this, some that. But not that intense connection that I'm always craving when I meet new people, that falling in love feeling.

I don't know if you guys feel this.. the other side of the coin for me is feeling nothing around people or by myself. It's such a relief to end that in-love obsessive longing but it's kinda my all-or-nothing way of relating to people & attachment to people. Most other interactions can feel similar to nothing.. I don't know if that's relatively healthy or more like depression and numbness.

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steadybowl

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2016, 08:29:57 PM »

I don't know if you guys feel this.. the other side of the coin for me is feeling nothing around people or by myself. It's such a relief to end that in-love obsessive longing but it's kinda my all-or-nothing way of relating to people & attachment to people. Most other interactions can feel similar to nothing.. I don't know if that's relatively healthy or more like depression and numbness.

Yes, I understand and feel that.  For me the "falling in love" object seems to be giving me something I desperately lack, where other interactions just don't have that sparkle and pizazz.  But wow am I vulnerable around that person I think I've fallen for.  I just don't seem to have my adult judgment - that neediness crowds out anything else.

Grieving my friend (who is still right here, just not wiling to talk all the time, not able to provide that daily/hourly support I crave) really does feel like grieving something I'll never have, mourning the loss of the childhood that never was.  I'm trying to be tender with that little kid self while at the same time trying not to act like a fool on the outside.

I'm also trying to open my eyes to what other friends can bring. (You know, those faithful people  I don't feel super close to but who have continued wanting to take walks, have lunch, catch up while I've been obsessing about just one friend).

 When I'm actively tending that little kid, I can appreciate what ordinary friends bring..... gentle caring, steadiness, a friendly ear.  So much less than the "falling in love" bliss, but perhaps a lot more reliable.

take care all,
steadybowl

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Flutterbye

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2016, 01:46:08 AM »
But wow am I vulnerable around that person I think I've fallen for.  I just don't seem to have my adult judgment - that neediness crowds out anything else.
Yes, such an important point! I find this vulnerability makes me so open to disappointment & frustration, or worse, exploitation & manipulation.

on grieving your friend  :hug:
I relate, it's sad.

on the other hand, as my recovery progresses I do wonder if in time I'll feel ok & have supportive relationships. Sometimes (even just for a moment) I'm amazed at how contented & relaxed I can feel with new friends. I love the point you make about faithful and reliable friends. Yes the excitement isn't there but my hunch is that pleasant and even harmless company is something I'm very inexperienced in (it's so alien) but is an important part of my quality of life. Like, I don't love love porridge but it's good for me.

thanks for your thoughts steadybowl, I found it so helpful to read. wishing you well with your friendship too  :)

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steadybowl

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2016, 09:07:37 PM »
flutterbye,

I have to believe we will both have supportive and solid friends someday!   :cheer: :cheer:

We are paying attention, we are committed to recovery, we are on the right path.




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Flutterbye

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Re: "falling in love" with a friend?!
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2016, 10:06:28 AM »
We are paying attention, we are committed to recovery, we are on the right path.
beautifully put.  :cheer: indeed